Health is the ability of a biological system to acquire, convert, allocate, distribute, and utilize energy sustainably. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined human health in a broader sense in its 1948 constitution as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."World Health Organization.Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19–22 June 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. In World Health Organization. (2006). [http://www.who.int/governance/eb/who_constitution_en.pdf ''Constitution of the World Health Organization''] – ''Basic Documents'', Forty-fifth edition, Supplement, October 2006. This definition has been subject to controversy, in particular as lacking operational value, the ambiguity in developing cohesive health strategies and because of the problem created by use of the word "complete", which makes it practically impossible to achieve.
Just as there was a shift from viewing disease as a state to thinking of it as a process, the same shift happened in definitions of health. Again, the WHO played a leading role when it fostered the development of the health promotion movement in the 1980s. This brought in a new conception of health, not as a state, but in dynamic terms of resiliency, in other words, as "a resource for living". 1984 WHO revised the definition of health defined it as "the extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities". Thus, health referred to the ability to maintain homeostasis and recover from insults. Mental, intellectual, emotional and social health referred to a person's ability to handle stress, to acquire skills, to maintain relationships, all of which form resources for resiliency and independent living. This opens up many possibilities for health to be taught, strengthened and learned.
Since the late 1970s, the federal Healthy People Initiative has been a visible component of the United States’ approach to improving population health.[https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/tools-and-resources/Federal-Prevention-Initiatives Federal Prevention Initiatives]
Generally, the context in which an individual lives is of great importance for both his health status and quality of their lifeSimandan, D., 2018. Rethinking the health consequences of social class and social mobility. Social Science & Medicine.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.037 . It is increasingly recognized that health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of health science, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyle (sociology) choices of the individual and society. According to the World Health Organization, the main determinants of health include the social and economic environment, the physical environment and the person's individual characteristics and behaviors.World Health Organization. [http://www.who.int/hia/evidence/doh/en/ ''The determinants of health.''] Geneva. Accessed 12 May 2011.
More specifically, key factors that have been found to influence whether people are healthy or unhealthy include the following:Public Health Agency of Canada. [http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ph-sp/determinants/index-eng.php#evidence ''What Determines Health?''] Ottawa. Accessed 12 May 2011.Lalonde, Marc (1974). [http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ph-sp/pdf/perspect-eng.pdf "''A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians''."] Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services.
The concept of the "''health field,''" as distinct from medicine, emerged from the Lalonde report from Canada. The report identified three interdependent fields as key determinants of an individual's health. These are:
The maintenance and promotion of health is achieved through different combination of physical, mental health, and social well-being, together sometimes referred to as the ''"health triangle."''Georgia State University. 1998. [http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwche/ ''Health Triangle Slides''].Nutter S. (2003) ''The Health Triangle''. Anchor Points, Inc., This suggests that the positive health benefits of natural space in urban neighborhoods should be taken into account in public policy and land use.
Genetics, or inherited traits from parents, also play a role in determining the health status of individuals and populations. This can encompass both the genetic predisposition to certain diseases and health conditions, as well as the habits and behaviors individuals develop through the lifestyle of their families. For example, genetics may play a role in the manner in which people cope with Stress (biology), either mental, emotional or physical. For example, obesity is a significant problem in the United States that contributes to bad mental health and causes stress in the lives of great numbers of people. (One difficulty is the issue raised by the nature versus nurture over the relative strengths of genetics and other factors; interactions between genetics and environment may be of particular importance.)
A number of types of health issues are common around the globe. Disease is one of the most common. According to GlobalIssues.org, approximately 36 million people die each year from non-communicable (not contagious) disease including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease (Shah, 2014).
Among communicable diseases, both viral and bacterial, AIDS/HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria are the most common, causing millions of deaths every year (Shah, 2014).
Another health issue that causes death or contributes to other health problems is malnutrition, especially among children. One of the groups malnutrition affects most is young children. Approximately 7.5 million children under the age of 5 die from malnutrition, usually brought on by not having the money to find or make food (Shah, 2014).
Bodily injuries are also a common health issue worldwide. These injuries, including broken bones, fractures, and burns can reduce a person's quality of life or can cause fatalities including infections that resulted from the injury or the severity injury in general (Moffett, 2013).Shah, Anup (5 January 2014). [http://www.globalissues.org/issue/587/health-issues "Health Issues."] ''Global Issues''.
Lifestyle choices are contributing factors to poor health in many cases. These include smoking cigarettes, and can also include a poor diet, whether it is overeating or an overly constrictive diet. Inactivity can also contribute to health issues and also a lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption, and neglect of oral hygiene (Moffett2013).There are also genetic disorders that are inherited by the person and can vary in how much they affect the person and when they surface (Moffett, 2013).
Though the majority of these health issues are preventable, a major contributor to global ill health is the fact that approximately 1 billion people lack access to health care systems (Shah, 2014). Arguably, the most common and harmful health issue is that a great many people do not have access to quality remedies.
The World Health Organization describes mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community".World Health Organization (2005). Promoting Mental Health: Concepts, Emerging evidence, Practice: A report of the World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and the University of Melbourne. World Health Organization. Geneva. Mental Health is not just the absence of mental illness.
Mental illness is described as 'the spectrum of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral conditions that interfere with social and emotional well-being and the lives and productivity of people. Having a mental illness can seriously impair, temporarily or permanently, the mental functioning of a person. Other terms include: 'mental health problem', 'illness', 'disorder', 'dysfunction'.Long, Steven W. [https://web.archive.org/web/20161012224715/http://lac.niu.edu.tw/files/archive/73_37d1d9ea.pdf Lifestyle Management: Achieving & Maintaining Good Healt]. niu.edu.tw
Roughly a quarter of all adults 18 and over in the US are considered diagnosable with mental illness. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada. Examples include, schizophrenia, ADHD, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and Autism spectrum.[http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml The numbers count: Mental disorders in America]. nih.gov
Many teens suffer from mental health issues in response to the pressures of society and social problems they encounter. Some of the key mental health issues seen in teens are: depression (mood), eating disorders, and drug abuse. There are many ways to prevent these health issues from occurring such as communicating well with a teen suffering from mental health issues. Mental health can be treated and be attentive to teens' behavior.
An important way to maintain your personal health is to have a healthy diet. A healthy diet includes a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods that provide nutrients to your body. Such nutrients give you energy and keep your body running. Nutrients help build and strengthen bones, muscles, and tendons and also regulate body processes (i.e. blood pressure). The food guide pyramid is a pyramid-shaped guide of healthy foods divided into sections. Each section shows the recommended intake for each food group (i.e. Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Sugars). Making healthy food choices is important because it can lower your risk of heart disease, developing some types of cancer, and it will contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
Physical exercise enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It strengthens muscles and improves the cardiovascular system. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) there are four types of exercise; Endurance, Physical strength, Flexibility, and Balance (ability). Endurance exercises are those that will elevate your heart rate including; walking, jogging, running, hiking etc. Due to the role of sleep in regulating Sleep and metabolism, insufficient sleep may also play a role in weight gain or, conversely, in impeding weight loss.
|! Age and condition|
! Sleep Needs
|-||Newborns (0–3 months)||14 to 17 hours|
|Infants (4–11 months)|
|12 to 15 hours|
|Toddlers (1–2 years)|
|11 to 14 hours|
|Preschoolers (3–5 years)|
|10 to 13 hours|
|School-age children (6–13 years)|
|9 to 11 hours|
|Teenagers (14–17 years)|
|8 to 10 hours|
|Adults (18–64 years)|
|7 to 9 hours|
|Older Adults (65 years and over)|
|7 to 8 hours|
Organized interventions to improve health based on the principles and procedures developed through the health sciences are provided by practitioners trained in medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, social work, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and other health care provider. Clinical practitioners focus mainly on the health of individuals, while public health practitioners consider the overall health of communities and populations. Workplace wellness programs are increasingly adopted by companies for their value in improving the health and well-being of their employees, as are school health services in order to improve the health and well-being of children.
The focus of public health interventions is to prevent and manage diseases, injuries and other health conditions through surveillance of cases and the health promotion, healthy community design, and (in aspects relevant to human health) environmental protection. Its aim is to prevent health problems from happening or re-occurring by implementing health education, developing health policy, administering services and conducting research.Association of Schools of Public Health. [https://web.archive.org/web/20050307160406/http://www.whatispublichealth.org/about/index.html ''What is Public Health?''] Retrieved 2010-06-24 In many cases, treating a disease or controlling a pathogen can be vital to preventing it in others, such as during an outbreak. Vaccination programs and distribution of condoms to prevent the spread of communicable diseases are examples of common preventive public health measures, as are educational campaigns to promote vaccination and the use of condoms (including overcoming resistance to such).
Public health also takes various actions to limit the health disparities between different areas of the country and, in some cases, the continent or world. One issue is the access of individuals and communities to health care in terms of financial, geographical or socio-cultural constraints to accessing and using services.Hispanics and the Future of America. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19910 ''Access to and Quality of Health Care''] Applications of the public health system include the areas of maternal health and child health, health services administration, emergency response, and prevention and control of infectious disease and chronic diseases.
The great positive impact of public health programs is widely acknowledged. Due in part to the policies and actions developed through public health, the 20th century registered a decrease in the mortality rates for infants and children and a continual increase in life expectancy in most parts of the world. For example, it is estimated that life expectancy has increased for Americans by thirty years since 1900,Association of Schools of Public Health. [https://web.archive.org/web/20050228214104/http://www.whatispublichealth.org/impact/index.html ''Impact of Public Health''.] Retrieved 2010-6-24. and worldwide by six years since 1990.World Health Organization. [http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends_text/en/index.html ''Life expectancy at birth''], accessed 20 April 2011.
Personal health depends partially on the active, passive, and assisted cues people observe and adopt about their own health. These include personal actions for preventing or minimizing the effects of a disease, usually a chronic condition, through disease management (health). They also include personal hygiene practices to prevent infection and illness, such as bathing and washing hands with soap; oral hygiene; storing, preparing and handling food safety; and many others. The information gleaned from personal Observations of Daily Living – such as about sleep patterns, exercise behavior, nutritional intake and environmental features – may be used to inform personal decisions and actions (''e.g.'', "I feel tired in the morning so I am going to try sleeping on a different pillow"), as well as clinical decisions and treatment plans (''e.g.'', a patient who notices his or her shoes are tighter than usual may be having exacerbation of left-sided heart failure, and may require diuretic medication to reduce fluid overload).Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2008). [https://web.archive.org/web/20080828125539/http://www.projecthealthdesign.org/media/file/E-primer_3.pdf ''Health in Everyday Living''.]
Personal health also depends partially on the social structure of a person's life. The maintenance of strong social relationships, volunteering, and other social activities have been linked to positive mental health and also increased longevity. One American study among old age over age 70, found that frequent volunteering was associated with reduced risk of dying compared with older persons who did not volunteer, regardless of physical health status.
In addition to safety risks, many jobs also present risks of disease, illness and other long-term health problems. Among the most common occupational diseases are various forms of pneumoconiosis, including silicosis and coalworker's pneumoconiosis. occupational asthma is another respiratory illness that many workers are vulnerable to. Workers may also be vulnerable to skin diseases, including eczema, dermatitis, urticaria, sunburn, and skin cancer.[http://www.hse.gov.uk/skin/ HSE (Health and Safety Executive of Great Britain) Skin at work] Retrieved on June 20, 2009 Other occupational diseases of concern include carpal tunnel syndrome and lead poisoning.
As the number of service sector jobs has risen in developed countries, more and more jobs have become sedentary lifestyle, presenting a different array of health problems than those associated with manufacturing and the primary sector. Contemporary problems, such as the growing rate of obesity and issues relating to stress (psychological) and overwork in many countries, have further complicated the interaction between work and health.
Many governments view occupational health as a social challenge and have formed public organizations to ensure the health and safety of workers. Examples of these include the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive and in the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which conducts research on occupational health and safety, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which handles regulation and policy relating to worker safety and health.